A somewhat failed experiment with charcoal on top of soft pastels – I was aiming for a little different, more dramatic look. Apparently a workable fixative is not capable of holding even a thin amount of pastel in place, and it keeps mixing with charcoal. I wonder what would work better?
We went to this event with FALC. Setting up at 8:30 am was not as bad as I anticipated, even though both me and Slava had very little sleep before that. Raja who organized it all for us was energetic and cheerful although he was e-mailing Slava at 3 a.m. last night. He said he felt ok because he was an astronomer, but even astronomers have to sleep sometimes and Raja was at the show the whole day!
By 10 a.m., when we were almost done with the setup, quickly visited our friends at Campbell Artists’ Guild and some others, it started to get hot. Slava and I went home until our shift in the booth at 4 p.m. and escaped the worst of the heat. When we returned, there still weren’t many visitors and the place felt like an oven even in the shade. There was some wind, and we were told that even a few drops of rain fell while we were away, but none of that brought any relief. It’s a miracle anyone at all preferred a trip to Triton to staying inside or soaking in a swimming pool. A pretty good jazz band was playing, but they had no crowd to support them. Poor guys.
The most wonderful discovery for me was Deborah Matlack. Since she doesn’t have a Web site, I turned to Google for more information about her and found a lengthy article where she says she is impatient and doesn’t do many preliminary sketches because of that. Looking at her portraits, I would never guess that. “I work all over the painting,” she says. “I can start on a figure, a face, or the background. It really depends on my mood. The beginning of a painting is quite conscious. I know what I want to achieve, but not necessarily how I want to achieve it.” Clearly, her focus is on the character of the subject first and truthful rendering of details second, but I would imagine it still takes a good deal of patience to get them right. Deborah also gave me some valuable advice on working with pastels for which I was very grateful. So now I plan to stop further experiments with Strathmore paper and switch to Canson and will try Lascaux fixative too. I can’t quite stop pastel from falling off the paper with what I am using now, and Deborah’s artworks were in the perfect shape despite the wind that occasionally made them flap against the panels.
We did have some most wonderful visitors who appreciated the art and were great to talk to. The show was also a great opportunity for artists to get to know each other better and share their experience. We posed for a final photo, took everything down, and went home totally exhausted. Happy Summer Solstice to us.